Wednesday, December 3, 2008

WHEN Will we ever learn?

By l.t. Dravis

SOMEWHERE – Tuesday, December 3, 2008 – When will we ever learn to stop trusting the ‘smart people’?

We trusted some supposedly smart people, people we pay lots of money to, to use 700 billion taxpayer ‘bailout’ dollars wisely and, now we find out from the Associated Press that those highly-paid, well-benefitted folks let us down.

Auditors from the Government Accounting Office (GAO) are telling us that the Department of Treasury, headed by Henry (Hank) Merritt Paulson, Jr. (you’d think a guy who has a B.A. in English from Dartmouth and an MBA from Harvard and was Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Goldman Sachs would be fairly smart, wouldn’t you?) failed to understand that it would be stupid to give $150 billion (so far) to banks without monitoring how they spend – and lend – our money.



The GAO report says, “Treasury has not yet determined how it will monitor compliance with this or other requirements such as limitations on dividend payments and stock repurchases.”


Let me translate this into terms people like me (no Harvard MBA, I’ve never been Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Goldman Sachs, and I’ve certainly never been Secretary of the Treasury) will understand: This is like me going down to my local bank and asking to borrow fifty or a million dollars. I don’t tell the bank how I’m going to spend the money and I don’t tell the bank how much my ‘collateral’ is worth and I don’t tell the bank when, if ever, I plan to give them back their money.

But they give me the money, anyway.


The GAO’s 72-page report also tells us that banks are not lending taxpayer money!

But, wait a minute . . . we were sold this ‘bailout’ plan by members of the House and Senate who told us that the whole point of the $700 billion bailout was to stimulate the economy by freeing up credit markets.

These Representatives and Senators talk a lot about ‘putting country first’ and chatter incessantly (especially in front of TV cameras) about how devoted they are to ‘protecting the taxpayers’ of this great nation.

These patriots includes Senator John McCain (Annapolis, class of ‘58), George W. Bush (remember him?), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (JD Georgetown University), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (JD, Kentucky Law School), Senator Chris Dodd, Chair of the Banking Committee (JD, University of Louisville), House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Degree in something from Trinity College), Representative Brad Miller (JD, Columbia University), Representative John Shadegg (JD, University of Arizona) and too many other well-educated geniuses to mention here.

So, why didn’t even one of these very smart folks understand that it is not very smart to allow bankers to run free with billions of taxpayer dollars?

And, if even one of them was smart enough to figure that out, why didn’t that ‘smarter-than-the-rest’ person do something about it?

Unfortunately, you know as well as I know that we’ll never know.

So, how did Hank’s Treasury Department react to the GAO report?

Neel Kashkari (Bachelor’s degree in Engineering, University of Illinois; Master’s degree in Engineering, University of Illinois, and Master’s degree in Business Administration, Wharton School of Business), is evidently the smartest person in the Treasury Department’s so-called Office of Financial Stability because he’s the guy who actually hands out cash to banks, but he doesn’t think it’s necessary to work with regulators.

In fact, Kashkari is so smart, he’s perfectly comfortable with the Department of Treasury coming up with its own program to monitor banks . . . but he doesn’t know where or when that will happen.

So . . . when will we ever learn not to trust the ‘smart’ people?

We believed them when they gravely announced that we were in a so-called ‘financial crisis’ and we trusted them when they told us, just a couple of months ago, they could save the economy . . . if only we would allow them to borrow $700 billion in our names to give to banks in their names.

How’s that worked out for us?

They let us down . . . again.


I’m not.


Because this is the same group that pushed us into a pointless war in Iraq war that cost thousands of precious American lives and wounded thousands more and caused countless billions of dollars to be forever unaccounted for. This is the same bunch that sat by and allowed wounded veterans to be ignored and mistreated at Walter Reed Army Hospital. These are the shameless men and women in the Congress of the United States of America who’ve been content to let millions of Americans on the Gulf Coast live with the damage done by Hurricane Katrina . . . 3 years after the fact. And, these are the people who were ‘smart’ enough to spend us into a ten trillion dollar national debt!

So, we shouldn’t be surprised that they let us down on the bailout.

That is what these people do.

They let us down . . . you know that, I know that.

My question is, why do we continue to let them get away with it?

When will we ever actually hold these people accountable to do the jobs we elect – and pay - them to do?

When will we screw up enough courage to tell them to stop wasting their time and our money with self-aggrandizement, posturing, and strutting?

When will we tell them to either do the people’s work or get out of the way so someone else can?

After all, as of 5:04 PM, Eastern Standard time, December 3, 2008, there are 305,802,056 of us and only 535 of them.

So . . . what are we afraid of?

Copyright © 2008 by LTD Associates West, Ltd. All rights reserved.

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